(Adds details, background)
By Johan Ahlander
STOCKHOLM Feb 10 Sweden's central bank raised
questions on Friday over a proposal to add an additional payroll
tax on financial services, saying the effects were hard to
predict and that it could hamper the ability to supervise the
Sweden's centre-left minority government has long sought to
impose a financial services tax, saying the sector - which is
exempt from value-added tax - should pay more to the state.
A government-appointed commission proposed in November an
additional 15 percent payroll tax for the financial services
sector, a move it said would raise as much as 7 billion Swedish
crowns ($795 million) a year for state coffers.
The Riksbank said it supports the aim to achieve tax
neutrality with an additional payroll tax on financial services
but said the potential effects were hard to predict. Critics say
banks could skirt the tax by outsourcing jobs abroad.
"There may be grounds to combine a possible implementation
of the proposal with a plan for monitoring and evaluation of its
effects," the Riksbank said in a written statement to the
finance ministry signed by board members and obtained by Reuters
under the freedom of information act.
It also said it was vital to ensure that the Financial
Supervisory Authority's ability to conduct oversight was not
affected by outsourcing of financial activities abroad.
"It is possible that the proposal could lead to supervision
over the financial activity important for Sweden is hampered,"
The proposal, which has yet to be turned into a government
bill, is going through a three month consultation process before
the government decides whether to press ahead.
The plan has faced criticism from centre-right opposition
parties, but the government can attach it to the budget bill
which means it would likely pass in parliament.
It has also drawn criticism from the financial sector, which
has said it would lead a banking sector that includes Nordea
, Handelsbanken, Swedbank and SEB
to move more jobs abroad.
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Alistair Scrutton)